Idaho added another 1,603 confirmed and probable cases of COVID-19 on Tuesday, bringing the state's cumulative total to 103,305 cases since the pandemic began, according the the Department of Health and Welfare. Of those, 61,261 are still considered active by health officials.
The virus killed another 31 Idahoans since last count, bringing the sum to 960 deaths.
Meanwhile, 446 people were hospitalized with the disease on Nov. 28, the most recent figures available Tuesday evening. One hundred ten of those were in Intensive Care Units across the state, tied with Nov. 27 for the highest number we've seen.
Locally, Blaine County logged another seven confirmed and five probable cases of COVID-19 overnight, bringing local totals to 1,208 and 89 respectively. As of yesterday evening, the South Central Public Health District was monitoring 240 cases in the county.
Today, our reporters took a look at local mask mandates and a long-awaited breakthrough in Ketchum's stalled housing market. Plus, Christmas is in the air in the SNRA. Keep reading for those stories, and more top news.
• Over the summer, Blaine County, Bellevue, Hailey, Ketchum and Sun Valley all implemented ordinances requiring masks in public settings. Alejandra Buitrago checked in with local law enforcement some five months on, and found that valleywide no citations have been given for violations of the orders.
"That’s in part because compliance with the rules—and response to warnings for violations of them—has been good, according to police," Buitrago writes. "It’s also because enforcement remains tricky."
• Bluebird Village--a 56-unit housing development aiming to house low-income residents at the site of Ketchum's current city hall--may finally get off the ground after receiving tax-credit financing from the Idaho Housing and Finance Association. The refined application succeeded where last year's failed, meaning the potential for $1 million per year over ten years to support the project.
• Meanwhile, the current occupants of City Hall are asking residents for more input on preservation of Ketchum's historic buildings. Tomorrow, the city will begin a new phase in a project launched in October to evaluate historical structures and determine whether new actions or ordinances should be pursued to protect them. A questionnaire and poll will be launched on the city website—at www.ketchumidaho.org—and citizens can sign up for virtual, small-group discussion sessions that will start on Dec. 2.
• Health officials are urging flu shots more than ever this year. Click here to read how to get yours through the South Central Public Health District in Bellevue.
• Finally, that Christmas news. The Sawtooth National Recreation Area will be selling $10 Christmas tree permits at a booth outside the SNRA Visitor Center north of Ketchum on Saturday, Dec. 5, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. This year’s permit allows an individual or family to choose and cut a tree up to 20 feet tall, with a limit of one tree per group.
For more local and regional news, visit mtexpress.com at any time, or pick up a copy of Wednesday’s Idaho Mountain Express.